DELHI · Varanasi · AGRA· JAIPUR · UDAIPUR · JODHPUR ·Mumbai

September 22 to October 4, 2019 ITINERARY

13 DAYS FROM $8999

Overload your senses – Test your limits – Restructure your basic assumptions. This tour will touch your soul. Our 12-day India adventure of discovery takes you on a journey of more than just a destination, but perhaps even of yourself. Long after you leave you will be gently haunted by memories of a place, a person, even a sound, or the smells of tea, jasmine blossoms, and incense. This is not your average tour of India: this is Zoom India!

Day One ~ Arrive in Delhi

Arrive at Delhi International Airport this evening. You will be met at the airport by a Zoom Vacations representative who will transfer to our hotel by air-conditioned vehicle. Your room is available for  immediate checkin.

Delhi is a city built and re-built seven times over several centuries. The capital city today marries the quaint and unique elements of different historical eras with the pace of the bustling, growing economy. At every turn of the road, the past and the present coexist. Old Delhi was the capital of Mughal rulers between 17th and 19th century and has many mosques, monuments & forts. New Delhi, the imperial city was created by the British as the capital of India. In 1911, Edwin Lutyens, the most renowned architect of the day, was chosen to design New Delhi which flaunts a surprising number of impressive monuments related to its conquests by the Mughals, Turks, Persians and ultimately the British.

Evening: Welcome Dinner and Cocktails at a surprise location

Accommodations: The Taj Palace New Delhi
Meals Included: Welcome Dinner

 

Day Two ~ Delhi
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Begin your day with an exploration starting in Old Delhi, visiting the Jama Masjid, the royal mosque built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1656. It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and is constructed in red sandstone and white marble. The main prayer hall has a seating capacity of more than 20,000 worshippers.

Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, the spine of Old Delhi. Jahanara Begum, the daughter of Shah Jahan designed this commercial place in 1648.

Drive through the majestic boulevards of New Delhi. The Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) is where the Viceroy once lived and now is the official residence of the President of India. It is an imposing structure with 340 rooms, constructed high up on Raisina Hill. View India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honor of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I

This afternoon we visit Humayun’s Tomb, the first great example of Mughal architecture in India, it developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty.  The squat building of white marble and red sandstone, with a dome and high arched entrances, surrounded by formal gardens, is generally regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra. Humayun’s wife is buried in the red-and-white sandstone, black-and yellow marble tomb.

Later we visit Qutub Minar, a soaring tower of victory, 72.5-meter-high with five distinct stories. The construction of this minaret commenced in 1193 and was completed in 1368. Built on the foundation of a Hindu temple, many elements of the construction reflect their Hindu and Jain origins. Within the complex, there are myriad monuments that combine both Islamic calligraphy and Hindu motifs.

Accommodations: The Taj Palace New Delhi
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Day Three ~ Delhi to Agra
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

After breakfast we will drive to Agra covering distance of 215 kms – approx. 4 hours. 

Agra - Akbarabad, as Agra was known during the Mughal era, is home to some of the most magnificent Mughal architectures. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna, the monumental beauty of Agra has inspired countless people around the world. This third largest city of the state of Uttar Pradesh is home to three UNESCO world heritage sites

On arrival check-in at your hotel.

In the afternoon visit Agra Fort. An imposing structure with walls of red sandstone, almost two miles long and contains palaces, audience halls and mosques. The fort presents a good sampling of Islamic and Hindu architectural styles. It was built by the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Subsequent additions were made to the fort by his son Jahangir and grandson Shahjahan.  

Later visit Taj Mahal by sunset.  The 17th century Taj Mahal is often called a poem in stone. If so, the mausoleum is a love poem - created by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22 years to be completed and was designed and planned by a Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen. (Note: Taj Mahal remains closed on every Friday).

Accommodations: The Oberoi Amarvilas – Premier with Balcony Room
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast



Day Four ~ Fly from Agra to Varanasi
Visit Taj Mahal by sunrise.  Return to hotel for breakfast. 

Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Post breakfast transfer to Agra airport in time to connect schedule flight to Varanasi.

Fly to Varanasi

Varanasi stands on the banks of the holy river Ganges, a city of more than a thousand temples and shrines. It is here that millions of Hindus come to wash away their sins; where the great Gautam Buddha first preached 25 centuries ago; where Asia largest residential university was founded and is still a center for art and learning. Varanasi’s principle attraction is a long string of bathing Ghats which line the river. Pilgrims belonging to all religions/castes come to this sacred place to wash away their sins. Renowned for its silk saree and carpets, Varanasi draws huge crowds of people who throng the shops to buy the famous Benarasi sarees.

On arrival a Zoom Vacation representative will meet you at the airport, who will escort you to your hotel. 

This evening witness a Hindu prayer ceremony ‘Aarti(prayer) ceremony at the “ghats” (bathing steps) of the Ganges. You will be escorted to Dhaswashmedh Ghat from where you will witness the Aarti for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. The river banks ‘ghats’ and temples are lit with oil-lamp and candles which create a magical effect. Devotees float the oil lamps in the water as an offering to the holy river.

Accommodations: Brij Rama Palace - Nadidhara Room
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Day Five ~ Fly from Varanasi to Jaipur

Early morning enjoy a boat cruise on River Ganges (subject to weather conditions). The ghats - hundreds of stone steps flanking the riverbank - are an incredible sight, particularly at sunrise when thousands of pilgrim’s bathe in the spiritually cleansing waters. Funeral pyres smoke on the riverbank, which is lined with colorful temples. The boat ride is one of the best ways witness the ceremonies.  

Return to your hotel for breakfast. 

Post breakfast transfer to Varanasi airport in time to connect schedule flight to Jaipur.

En-route visit Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon which is now a spiritual place of mainly stupas, shrines and temples. Also visit Sarnath’s temple and Archeological Museum (Closed on Friday) full of Buddha art treasures.

Fly to Jaipur

Jaipur, "The City of Victory", was first intended to be "Sawai Jaipur", named after the boy Prince who commissioned it - Maharaja Jai Singh II - a warrior, astronomer and politician who reigned over the Mughals from 1699 to 1743. Today's Jaipur is pink, visually described as the city shaded with the autumn colors of a sunset. Although originally the walls were render set and pigmented the color of red sandstone, Jaipur's universal coat of pink only came in 1876 to coincide with the visit of the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII). Almost the entire city was given a coat of pink paint, thus giving it the name "The Pink City".

On arrival a Zoom Vacations representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.

Accommodations: The Taj Rambagh Palace - Palace Room
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Day Six ~ Jaipur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

In the morning visit the magnificent Amber Fort by Jeep. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace, famous for the excellence of its design and decoration. Within the complex is Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with the images of the elephant-headed god, Ganesh.

In the afternoon continue your sightseeing tour of Jaipur. Visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory. Built in the 1700s but still appears to be futuristic. It houses unique instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens!

Continue your visit to City Palace to witness the Maharaja’s private collection of textiles and armory. Culminate the tour with a photo stop at Hawa Mahal also known as the "Palace of the Winds". This beautiful façade is probably the most-photographed in Jaipur, with its ornately carved windows designed so the ladies of the palace could look out onto the streets unobserved.

Evening: This evening, we recommend you enjoy dinner at the hotel, at your leisure.

Accommodations: The Taj Rambagh Palace - Palace Room
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Day Seven ~ Fly from Jaipur to Udaipur

The morning is at leisure to enjoy the hotel pool, spa etc. 

After an early lunch, you will be transferred to Jaipur airport in time to connect schedule flight to Udaipur.

Fly to Udaipur

Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes is like the oasis of the Thar Desert. The many lakes in the city have lent it the name of ‘Venice of the East’. The royal palaces and forts add to beauty of the historic city of Udaipur founded in 1559.

On arrival a Zoom Vacations representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.

Accommodations: The Incomparable Rambagh Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Lunch

 

Day Eight ~ Udaipur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

We begin our tour of the historic city of Udaipur from the royal City Palace - the main part of the palace is a museum displaying a large and diverse array of artefacts. There is also the armoury museum exhibiting a huge collection of protective gear, weapons including the lethal two-pronged sword. Each quarter of the City Palace offers something different like the Manak Mahal which has a lovely collection of glass and mirror work, Krishna Vilas displays a rich collection of miniature paintings, the Moti Mahal has beautiful mirror work and the Chini Mahal has ornamental tiles all over. But the most noteworthy among these is the 129-year-old Crystal Gallery at the Fateh Prakash Palace. The gallery showcases some of the most lustrous, rare and precious crystal from the royal treasure. These precious crystals were ordered from the famous manufacturers F and C Osler Company around 1877 A.D. The City also has the most famous temple of the Udaipur the Jagdish Temple. The temple was built in 1651 with Indo-Aryan style architecture. This three storey temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, has the most beautifully carved pillars, decorated ceilings, painted walls and lush halls. 

In the afternoon we walk around the old city of Udaipur followed by a sunset boat cruise. Udaipur, also known as the ‘City of Lakes’ is like the oasis of the Thar desert. The many lakes in the city have lent it the name of ‘Venice of the East’. And what better to admire the regal beauty of this historic city dotted with palaces than a boat cruise. Enjoy a romantic boat ride at Lake Pichola with the setting sun making the experience ever so magical.

Accommodations: The Oberoi Udaivilas - Premier Room
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 


Day Nine ~ Drive from Udaipur to Jodhpur in air conditioned vehicle
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

After breakfast drive to Udaipur covering the distance of 290 kilometers, approximately 6 hours drive.

Enroute stop at Ranakpur, for a visit to the Jain temple of Ranakpur. Light colored marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple. The temple, with its distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas rise majestically from the slope of a hill. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars.  

Lunch at Mountbatten Lodge.

Jodhpur, also called the ‘Blue City’ was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan, the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur. It is still a marvelously medieval city. While the graceful palaces, forts and temples bring alive the historic grandeur, exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city.

Arrive at Jodhpur and check-in at UMAID BHAWAN PALACE hotel.

Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of the great palaces of India and one of the largest residences in the world, set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens.

Designed by renowned Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester, the palace is a blend of eastern and western architectural influences. Its majestic 105-foot high cupola is influenced by the Renaissance, while the towers draw inspiration from Rajput tradition. The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin.
Rest of the day will be at leisure to enjoy the Palace, Spa activities etc.

In the evening enjoy a heritage walk of the Palace and its museum.

Accommodations: Umaid Bhawan Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Lunch

 

Day Ten ~ Jodhpur
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

In the morning we visit Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada. Of all the many forts in Rajasthan, very few compare to majesty of the Mehrangarh Fort.  Built on a high rocky cliff, the views from the fort stretch all across the plains as far as the Mewari fort at Kumbalgarh. Almost impregnable, the fort is entered through seven fortified gateways.  Beside the last gate, the 15th century Loha Pol, or Iron Gate are the handprints of 15 royal sati, Jodhpur queens who immolated themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands.

The fort is divided into three sections – the public areas, the Maharajas palaces, and the zenana, or queens’ palaces.  Walking down from the fort you stop at Jaswant Thada, the graceful marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II (1873-95) and other Maharajas of Jodhpur.    

The afternoon is at leisure for independent activities. 

This evening, enjoy an incredible Zoom Vacations meal event at the palace.

Accommodations: Umaid Bhawan Palace
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day Eleven ~ Fly from Jodhpur to Mumbai
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

The morning is at leisure to enjoy the hotel pool, spa etc. 

In the afternoon transfer to Jodhpur airport in time to connect schedule flight to Mumbai.

 Fly to Mumbai

Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is the fastest moving, most affluent and industrialized city in India. Mumbai is part of India's beautiful west coast that runs down from Gujarat, through Mumbai to Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. The city has a natural harbor, which was developed by the British and is one of the busiest ports of India. It is home to people of all Indian creeds and cultures, a fascinating city, throbbing with life, and, for many people, the gateway to India.Rest of the evening at leisure.

Accommodations: Taj Mahal Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Day Twelve ~ Mumbai
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

This morning we take a launch (seat sharing basis) to Elephanta caves, located 10 km to the east of Mumbai, are famous for the ancient sculptures and the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Closed on Monday). The caves are assumed to be dating back to somewhere between the 9th and 13th century AD. These caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are various rock-cut temples present in these caves. The prime deity in the temple is Ardhanarishwara, a blend of half man and half woman, representing Shiva and his consort Parvati. The temple design is based on the Hindu astrological knowledge base, clearly taking into account geometrical mandala and energy levels. The stupendous 20 feet high image of the three-headed Shiva, depicting three faces of Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, is a marvelous attraction of the caves.

In the afternoon we enjoy an orientation tour of Mumbai. Drive past Victoria Terminus - the first train to steam out of Mumbai operated from here to Thane in 1853. Visit Mani Bhawan museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Photo stop at Dhobhi Ghat, a unique outdoor laundry. Next visit Jehangir Art Gallery or the National Gallery of Modern Art.

This evening enjoy a farewell cocktail reception and dinner in a regal setting.

Accommodations: Taj Mahal Palace
Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast and Farewell Dinner

 

Day Thirteen ~ Depart for home or onward to our Bhutan extension
Buffet Breakfast at leisure in hotel

Morning at leisure. Departure for those going onto the Bhutan extension.

Afternoon: A Zoom Vacations representative will escort you to International airport and assist you to connect home bound flight.

Meals Included: Buffet Breakfast

 

Air: International and domestic airfare not included.  However, Zoom Vacations will arrange all necessary internal flights.

Passports: Your valid passport should have at least two blank visa pages and should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from the country you are visiting. 
Note: Passport pages titled "Endorsement Pages" are not visa pages.

Visas: Please note that travelers to India need to have a Indian Visa in advance of your trip in order to enter India. For more information, go to http://www.in.ckgs.us

While Zoom Vacations will assist when possible, please note that passport, visa, and vaccination requirements vary from country to country and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. If you are a US resident, you may click here for more information on passport, visa, and vaccination requirements for various countries.

*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

Please read Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

For more information on entry and exit requirements, see here.